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Nudging : The Way Forward?

Human beings are remarkably good at decision making. Millions of years of evolution mean we are capable of processing information and making … Keep Reading

An Open Letter To John Bercow About The Speaker’s Seat

in UK by

I recognise that I have written about this situation before, but in light of the 1,967 spoilt ballots (9 Jun, 08:32 on the link) in the recent general election and John Bercow’s pledge to ask the Procedure Committee, when Commons select committees are reformed, to reconsider the situation whereby four constituencies have no MP able to speak in debates or vote and one constituency has no properly contested election either, I have written the following letter to him: Mr Bercow, The situation with the Speaker’s Seat, as it stands, cannot go on any longer. In the Buckingham constituency, electors (not me, since I was under 18 in 2010 and 2015 and very fortunately able to vote in Exeter (my university’s constituency) in 2017) have had…

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China’s gunboat diplomacy

in Asia/World by

China for the past 1,000 years has focused on consolidating power over its vast and diverse landmasses; China has to focus on preventing nationalist sentiment and any possible rebellions from territories such as Tibet and Xinjiang seeing themselves as independent from the Han Chinese which dominate China politically, economically and culturally. Meaning China historically has only been able to have a Green Water Navy  to patrol its maritime borders, and not the Blue Water navy (a maritime force capable of exerting influence globally) that it desires. However, recent developments mean that the realisation of a strong Blue Water Navy is becoming more of a possibility. On the 28th June, China launched Asia’s biggest and most advanced warship, enabling China to strengthen and modernise its navy.…

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The Queen’s Speech: What is it and what happened?

in UK by

The Queen made a speech in the House of Lords on Wednesday. In her speech was the government’s plans on what they want to do over the next two years (would usually be one year, but Prime Minister Theresa May cancelled next year’s Queen’s Speech). Over the next week, Parliament will debate the Queen’s Speech and vote on it. If the government loses the vote, then this is considered a vote of no confidence in the government, though a proper vote of no confidence may need to be passed before the government calls a new general election. However, it’s unlikely that the government would lose the vote on the Queen’s Speech, because they’re forging a deal with the DUP, who have enough seats for them…

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The NHS needs more funding

in UK by

It’s easy to dismiss calls to properly fund the NHS, assuming that talk of ‘crisis’ is meaningless and assuming we don’t have the money. But crisis means not being able to go to A&E when you’re in an emergency, because it’s shut, or an ambulance taking valuable extra time to go to an A&E further away, with the consequence that you might not get to the operating theatre on time and might die because the closer A&E was shut. It means really long waiting times. It means being on a trolley for hours because they have no beds, and even dying on the trolley. It means waiting ages for an operation and possibly being in extreme pain or discomfort until it happens. It’s easy to…

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The Self-Destructive Revolution and Saving the Future of the West

in History/US and Canada/World by

Reform has always been the death of revolution. Reform is what governments and leaders do to keep their heads attached to their shoulders. The principle behind this is obvious – if you give the people what they want, they won’t have to take what they want by force. Reform is a counter to change; gradual (sometimes so gradual as to be insignificant) change as opposed to any real alterations. For the most part, reform is good. Revolution can be sloppy, and if poorly executed, disastrous for people, nations and sometimes the world. There are countless situations (most recently the 2011 Arab Spring), where some degree of reform on the part of governments would have prevented copious loss of life. But sometimes revolution is necessary, to…

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Is our relationship with the US really that special?

in UK/US and Canada by

Britain and the US have appeared to have a very cosy relationship during the last century and so far in this one. We have fought World War I and II together, defeated Hitler and then, eventually, the USSR. We have fought together throughout the Middle East, destroying nations. You could liken it to a wrestling tag team, taking on the rest of the world together in order to be the supreme champions, but then again has it really been so rosy? Has Britain not dragged the USA into wars it didn’t want and vice versa? Maybe. If you actually analyse the relationship between the two states, we might be able to glean what could happen both post-Brexit and post-Presidential election. During the First World War,…

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International Revolution is Coming, and We Need to be Ready to Face It.

in Election 2016/World by

Recently, I attended a lecture at a local school on the on-going American election. One issue raised during this talk was the sustainability of the international system – one of the academics present made the point that our current international system was designed to maintain the power balance of 1945 when it was set up. We can see this with just the slightest glance – the UK and France both have a veto in the UN, ahead of more populous and powerful countries such as India, Brazil and Indonesia. Our international system was designed for 1945. It was designed to address the concerns of 1945 and to prevent a repeat of the Second World War. The problem is that we no longer live in 1945,…

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Austria needs to stop trying to erase parts of its dark history

in Europe/History by

When I went to Auschwitz this summer I wanted to write a piece on the experience but just couldn’t think of anything to say, until I read that Hitler’s birthplace (an Austrian city called Braunau) is to be demolished by Austrian authorities in an attempt to prevent the site from acting as a focal point for Neo-Nazi ‘pilgrimages’ worldwide. This is a completely ridiculous solution, a futile attempt at addressing the symptoms of a decaying society. It’s almost as if the Austrian interior minister doesn’t realise that other much more important sites pertaining to Hitler exist. Should we knock those down to for the sake of crossing off one more stop on the neo-Nazis road trip? There is more than mere historical value in this…

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Down’s-selective abortion is a mistake

in UK by

A new procedure is being rolled-out in the NHS which could potentially remove Down’s syndrome from society forever. On the face of it, this seems like a great thing, Down’s is a condition that we want a cure for, though Down’s children often give people great joy and live satisfying lives, but this particular procedure has some quite severe consequences if we follow through with it. The current prenatal tests for Down’s syndrome are either fairly risky in that it the chance of the test procedure killing the child is about the same as the likelihood the child has the condition (and so not so many mothers take those tests as they would the new one), and they’re not particularly good at identifying when an…

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